November 11, 2016

CU Boulder-built satellite to probe space weather set for launch

Charlie Brennan
Daily Camera

A multi-million dollar University of Colorado instrument package expected to help scientists better understand potentially damaging space weather is set to launch aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite next week

The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors instrument, designed and built at CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, is scheduled to launch Nov. 19. It's the first of four identical packages that will fly on four NOAA weather satellites in the coming decade.

EXIS, as it is known, will measure energy output from the sun that can affect satellite operations, telecommunications, GPS navigation and also power grids on Earth. It is part of NASA's next generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R Series.

NASA's contract with CU on behalf of NOAA to design, build, test, deliver and support the four instrument packages is for roughly $105 million. The GOES-R satellite was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Littleton and will be launched on an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance, headquartered in Centennial.